The Ryan Murphy empire is on a roll with the final seasons of American crime history and Posewinning numerous distinctions including that of MJ Rodriguez make history Victory at the Golden Globes. But long before, Murphy made a name for himself as the co-creator of the FOX musical. Joy.
For six seasons, members of William McKinley’s glee club encountered a colorful cast of eclectic personalities. As the show grew, so did the stature of the guest stars. A-list celebrities appeared sporadically as minor cameos or as the focal point of an entire episode.
ten Barry Jeffries and Tim Stanwick – “The Rocky Horror Glee Show”
In “The Rocky Horror Glee Show”, The Rocky Horror Picture Show Former Meat Loaf and Barry Bostwick play Barry Jeffries and Tim Stanwick, two TV executives who recruit Sue Sylvester to disrupt production on Glee Club. rocky horror.
The duo’s clumsy grimness is a highlight as the rocky horror stars make the most of their short screen time. Joy’Sue’s fast pace, biting wit, and over-the-top exaggeration are perfectly encapsulated in any interaction with Sue, and the station managers match her every move. Barry and Tim’s obsessive fear has become a sign of what’s to come in the real world. And if JoyHalf’s sense of humor can be summed up online as Tim warning Sue of “Mexican Terrorist Ants”.
9 James Lipton – “Goodbye”
The third-season finale follows the first group of New Direction graduates as they work through problems and work their way to adulthood. As Finn’s interior monologue lays out his post-graduation plans, the episode cuts to Finn’s audition with James Lipton at the Actor’s Studio.
In the briefest of cameos, Lipton plays himself and is such a pure ray of joy that it’s impossible not to smile when he’s onscreen. Plus, it’s one of the first moments the show wonders if these kids are overwhelmed by their dreams of stardom. As a mentor to actors throughout his career, it’s a nice touch to see Lipton point Finn in the right direction.
8 Nancy Abrams – “Wonderful”
In “Wonder-ful”, Artie is reluctant to consider moving to New York for college and leaving his mother alone. In her short scene, Katy Sagal’s Nancy Abrams conjures up the loving warmth of a buttoned up mama bear with a biting beard.
Of all the giant names recruited to play parent figures – Jeff Goldblum, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Coolidge, Gloria Estefan – Nancy is the only one with a plot dedicated to the parent-child relationship. For Artie, one of JoyMany characters ignored, Nancy offers a chance to explore one of the children outside of their dreams and romances. By confiding in his mother, Artie reveals a tenderness and innocence rarely portrayed in the series.
seven Lindsay Lohan – “Nationals”
JoyThe show’s choir judges fall into two camps: outlandish characters straight out of a Christopher Guest mockumentary (Kathy Griffin, Anna Camp) or fictional celebrity caricatures (Marlee Matlin, Jackée Harry). The most memorable judge was 2000s teen icon Lindsay Lohan, who served as a judge on New Direction’s second visit to the Nationals.
Playing herself, Lohan fit right in with the show’s fast pace and cartoonish tone as she threw one-liners at her fellow judges. Of all the celebrity judge cameos, Lindsay Lohan’s cameo stands out the most for the satirical commentary on celebrity comeback culture amid her real-life comeback and Lohan’s ability to return to a level of absurdity and at a rapid speed akin to his iconic performance in mean girls.
6 Patti LuPone – “New York”
Many Broadway faces have taken trips to Lima, Ohio, but only one legend has emerged as herself during New Direction’s time in New York. During a moment in the second-season finale, Broadway legend Patti LuPone meets Rachel and Finn as the pair go on a date at Sardi’s.
The stage is the dream of every theater child. Rachel lets go of her type-A persona and loses all her temper as she goes wild with Broadway original Eva Peron. LuPone exhibits a personality of grace and gravity that lends a dreamlike quality to his screen time. Here, Rachel is more than just a stuck-up diva obsessed with achieving her dreams. We get a glimpse of the little girl whose passion and love for musical theater guides her every decision.
5 Betty Pillsbury – “Yes”
Long before winning a Tony for his performance in the 2019 Broadway production Oklahoma!Ali Stroker made waves in talent scouting reality series The Glee Project. Although she did not win, Stroker would make an appearance in “I Do” as Emma’s niece, Betty.
Betty shows courage and confidence that bounces well with Artie’s sweet nerdism. What sets this pair apart is that it’s one of the few times the show has allowed a character to form a relationship with someone outside of New Directions. The characters lost interest so often that it would be quicker to make a list of couples who haven’t met. This brief adventure is a nice change of pace from the show’s melodramatic love stories.
4 David Martinez – “The Spanish Teacher”
Latin pop sensation Ricky Martin joins the glee club as David Martinez, the titular Spanish teacher. “The Spanish Teacher” serves as a showcase for Martin whose charisma shines brighter than his pearly white smile. The highlight of the episode is his dazzling duet with Santana from Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita.”
David’s presence finally addresses one of the Joythe most glaring plot holes, Will’s position as McKinley’s Spanish teacher. In doing so, the show humbles Will by introducing someone more qualified and instantly loved. Will realizes he still has a lot to learn and sometimes has to step aside to let someone else lead the way. At the end of the episode, David takes over Spanish lessons while Will switches to the school’s history teacher.
3 Cooper Anderson – “Big Brother”
Before singing Kelly Clarkson songs in Doom Patrolaudiences were introduced to the musical abilities of Matt Bomer during his appearance on Joy. Bomer plays Cooper Anderson, Blaine’s spotlight-stealing older brother who everyone falls in love with. Their clash turns into a confrontation through Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”.
A character with a Mr. Perfect reputation, subsequent seasons see Blaine become one of the most prominent characters with an emphasis on his storylines and solos. Cooper’s episode is a rare example of seeing Blaine as jealous and nervous. He becomes petty and vindictive. It’s an interesting layer for a character who, at this point, has only served as Kurt’s perfect mentor and boyfriend.
2 Britney Spears – “Britney/Brittany”
In “Britney/Brittany”, children learn to grow through the discography of Britney Spears. With elaborate dream sequences, the episode reshoots many of the singer’s hit music videos. Each sequence features a Spears cameo, including a memorable encounter between Britney Spears and Heather Morris’ Brittany S. Pierce.
Although Joy took every opportunity to confuse celebrity culture with sharp one-liners, this episode is a love letter to Britney Spears and her impact on the show’s core demographic. It’s a reckoning with public perception of Britney Spears long before the #FreeBritney movement became more tangible with every second of Spears onscreen. By having Britney herself approach the children in their hallucinations, the show brings to life the personal connection between the performers and their audience.
1 Bryan Ryan – “Dreaming About”
Broadway musical veteran Neil Patrick Harris and Joy makes a phenomenal couple. As a school board listener who peaked during his time at William McKinley’s glee club, Harris shines in a role that earned him his first Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.
Bryan Ryan is a classic example of “making them want more”. In one episode, Bryan delivers jaw-dropping performances of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On” while fusing with the show’s hyper-fast pace and gritty tone. While characters like Holly Holiday and April Rhodes would transition from guest stars to recurring roles, Bryan would never return. It feels like one of the show’s biggest appeals, to leave perfection alone.
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